You Are Part Of The Constructive Corruption
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Shamiso Fred, let me start by saying that I’m only writing this response after you chose to unmask yourself as the unnamed Zanu friend who keeps disproportionately blaming government corruption as the soul cause of the malaise in Zimbabwe, in an effort to deny the impact of economic sanctions upon your people.
Be that as it may, I will not make reference to any issues other than those that you have already alluded to in your own response.
Additionally, I would like to clarify that the intention of this response is not to attack you, but seeing that you have questioned my integrity on standing up against sanctions.
I would like to take this window to offer a rejoinder to your criticism, while giving clarification to my position on corruption and challenging what I see as your hypocrisy and undermining of other people’s efforts for country, on the belief that only your efforts for country are legitimate.
Insulting My Person
Of late you have advanced a perspective that my speaking against sanctions is me singing for my supper. A veiled insinuation that I have no real integrity or conviction behind my cause but the mere pursuit of gain.
I feel that this assault against my fight against sanctions is underhanded and potentially damaging to my person and campaign.
I look Up To You.
You are a successful black woman. In fact I see you as a successful matriarch who I revere and am exceedingly proud of. My love and respect for you is indisputable, irrespective of the fact that I’m going to tear a bit into your flesh with this write up.
You are hard working, and have worked hard to be where you are today. The simple fact is you are deserving of all your success and more.
You have made it your life journey to invest in fellow Zimbabweans, advancing access to capital for the most deprived members of our society. Assisting potential entrepreneurs to access capital from investors who have an appetite for Zimbabwe but can’t enter the market directly under the existing sanctions regime.
This makes you a superwoman in my eyes, a nation builder. However, this also makes your fight against the anti-sanctions movement very bizarre because I would expect that the removal of sanctions would make it easier for your investors to invest in Zimbabwe and for your clients who need capital to access it.
Your Political Connections
In all the time I have known you, you have never hidden the fact that you are well connected to politicians in Zimbabwe, hence you receive tenders and opportunities from these connections.
You have also openly disclosed that you were married to a Zanu PF senior member without omitting that you supply various tenders to the government of Zimbabwe and its entities with the assistance of your political contacts.
So clearly you have benefited from the favor and largess of Zanu PF and the government in your journey as an entrepreneur, and that takes nothing away from you.
I for one see nothing wrong with that if you deliver on your mandate and remain loyal to the national project. This is why I bring some of my leads to you because I believe you can get good ideas to the decision makers who need to transform Zimbabwe.
Most Business People Were Supported By Government
The bottomline is you are not unique, most major Zimbabwean business people have all benefited from the preferential support of Zanu PF and government on their way to the top.
A result of Zanu emulating the American model where politicians advance American companies that are aligned to their national cause.
I consider businesses that have benefited from the government, while creating value for the nation as patriots, compared to those receiving funding from hostile western institutions to sabotage our country .
The Mawere Syndrome
What I find perturbing though is that a number of you business people who benefited tremendously from government empowerment (unlike your American counterparts) have an uncanny habit of trying to distance yourselves from the source of your endowment when your egos push you to blow your own trumpets.
Yet you remain suckling on the same tit in the shadows. I call this the egocentric #MawereSyndrome that is characteristic of the ungrateful one way patriotism of most Zimbabweans.
Maybe we should change it to the #ShamiFredSyndrome for good measure when we juxtapose your daily criticism against the role our government gave you to fly the national flag.
A Brand Attaché Who Doesn’t Know Her Job
As the brand attaché for Zimbabwe in Dubai, you seem to only treasure the substantial cheques that the nation gives you. Only to treat the nation like a plague every opportunity you get in the public light. Resulting in you demarketing the same brand you are meant to be promoting.
That’s not only schizophrenic but also an indictment on our government for giving people who are not brand experts the task to champion our brand. Especially when considering that brand ambassadorship requires consistent public articulation of the positives over weaknesses to built brand equity.
You Are As Self Made As Grace Mugabe
On the issue of you being self made. YES, you are self made. As self made as any other business persons, relatives, connections or sons and daughters of the politicians you call out for corruption everyday.
You are as self made as Grace Mugabe, Strive Masiyiwa, James Makamba, Shingi Mutasa, Nigel Chanakira and most other Zimbabwean business people who were cooked in the pot of Zanu PF with access to government contracts that most Zimbabweans have no access to.
Like them you have used your connections (which happen to be in government) and relationships (social capital) to deliver value to the bureaucracy and it has benefited you financially. It’s these contracts and not the three jobs that you held down to survive that made you.
All the same, in my books, as long as YOU and those connected to politicians are loyal to the national agenda and deliver a high standard of work cost effectively to the nation.
So long you use your largess to reinvest back in growing your business in Zimbabwe, innovating, creating employment, paying taxes and giving back to Zimbabwe. I see nothing wrong with the preference you have received in advancing Zimbabwe.
This is why you don’t hear me harping on about corruption like you do because I believe our public funds must go to businesses that advance our national interests in the geopolitical arena.
In business there is nothing wrong with executives taking advantage of their connections in government to deliver and add value. While in politics it’s paramount for politicians to advance businesses that advance the national agenda unapologetically. Here the two interests converge for an obvious outcome.
Marketing Is All About Creating Relationships
As a marketer I would even suggest that companies have marketing departments specifically to cultivate such relationships with stakeholders [private and especially government and multi-lateral institutions] in the value chain to get an inside lane on requests for tenders, preferential business, rebuys or recurring government contracts.
It’s for this same reason ambassadors sign bilateral agreements on behalf of their nations, to open preferential business avenues for their businesses in foreign countries ahead of other nations that might have superior products.
Some procurement experts theorize that it’s also beneficial for procurement departments [private or public] to give recurring contracts to people they have relationships with, to ensure delivery.
This is so that they can optimize procurement value and costs. Instead of disrupting the value chain by trying new suppliers every cycle.
Even though I don’t support capitalism, I accept that this is how capitalism works and I support taking advantage of these workings for us to accumulate local capital for the benefit of our country.
A Beneficiary Of Constructive Corruption
You have successfully played the game, nurturing these types of relationships, acquiring preferential and recurring tenders from government in all manner of areas from stationary, food, eggs, chicken, fuel and many others. That is credit to you.
However, many might find that according to our current public procurement policies, such relationships [as yours] can be construed as corrupt. Hence these policies advocate that tender processes free of political/insider manipulation or preference be held every buying cycle.
I’m not a proponent of that view as I believe our current procurement laws are flawed and not geared to advancing Zimbabwean capacity, which is why I don’t advance the loose corruption mantra that you and most Zimbabweans do.
Public Businesses Must Serve National Agenda
I don’t believe that legitimate government business should be the domain of the most competent companies. Because under such circumstances those are most likely to be experienced western/Chinese companies/consultancies or local companies owned by wealthy white citizens like Rautenbach who benefited from black exploitation and working against our national agenda.
Unless restrictions and preferential procurement measures are instituted to advance natives who are likely to advance Zimbabwean interests by their mere identity, such tenders could disadvantage the nation.
I believe tenders should be based on targeted preferential procurement designed to grow select local black businesses of all scales to create a local economy that drives home biased investment, job creation, reinvestment, taxation and building of the nation on our traditional values.
I also believe that this preferential government procurement must have tolerances for mistakes that will be made by inexperienced local SMMEs to assist them up the learning and experience curves, without such tolerances being defined as corruption.
The reason being after independence we tried advancing mainly white businesses to advance Zimbabwe but they sabotaged the Zimbabwean project for their opposing imperial interests the moment we asked for transformation.
This history makes preferential procurement imperative for building organic Zimbabwean industrialists and entrepreneurs. And it’s due to such preferential procurement strategy (even though not as systematic as my analogy) that I support your selective empowerment through constructive corruption.
Preferential Procurement Has Made You
With this I can anticipate that your companies were not necessarily the best, most competent or capable in the diverse arenas of stationary, fuel, eggs, chicken and other areas where you received your tenders. But you still got the contracts.
Like I pointed out earlier, such preferential [selective/targeted] procurement to particularly black and female owned businesses that develop and reinvest in Zimbabwe like yours, is good policy or what is now being referred to in South Africa as constructive corruption.
If you remember, when we tried to approach the Harare Municipality with our Russian solar company. MDC spurned us because we had no affiliation to their political program. They too seemed only interested in advancing companies that align with their neo-liberal agenda.
Your Hypocrisy Is Insulting
Having said the above, what I don’t appreciate is your double standards and loose use of the word corruption. Which you seem to advance to link any company or person receiving preferential business from the national or local governments in the absence of your companies.
You insinuate in your daily [vocal] criticism of government corruption that only your interactions with government are devoid of corruption, while suggesting that all others are corrupt. In so doing painting Zimbabwe as the most corrupt nation on earth and your as a saint.
These double standards and over exaggerations of Zimbabwe’s corruption potentially make you hypocritical as you are an ambassador for the same brand you spend so much time vociferously putting down in public.
This despite you being a beneficiary of [constructive corruption] preferential procurement outside your areas of competency from the same officials you call corrupt, while maintaining relationships with them.
You Are Part Of The System
The obvious inference being you are very much part of the system that you condemn as corrupt, which doesn’t make sense to me.
I have on many occasions refused to get dragged into your corruption calling bandwagon because I know that corruption is the manifestation of capitalism in that it primitively accumulates factors of production from the public or masses into the hands of a few privileged elite.
This is achieved by the same means of preferential procurement that has benefited people like you. And it’s this that will see some define you as corrupt using the current public procurement policies and standards you condemn others with.
I suggest that we change those policies to favor government window guiding local businesses aligned with our policy and national agenda. But until then you might need to reserve your sanctimonious accusations for which you are also guilty.
Otherwise, your continued suggestions that the entire Zimbabwean government procurement, deal making and tender system are inertly corrupt. Inadvertently taints you and anyone else who participates in this system.
It also paints every other Zimbabwean who one day might receive preferential procurement from our government with the same brush of corruption.
You Are Contravening The Sanctions You Support
Moreover you are also unwittingly admitting to busting the same U.S sanctions that you support by supplying our government and it’s departments with products and services.
And channeling funds on behalf of your investors into Zimbabwe, in contravention of the executive order sanctions that state that any company that supplies the Zimbabwean government, army, their companies and certain private financial institutions with assistance, goods, services, finance and logistics are in violation of EO13469 sanctions.
You are violating the same sanctions you are trying
to stop me from standing up against?
My Campaign Seeks To Help Companies Like Yours
Now in hindsight and looking at your current contradictions, is my stance not in support of ending the sanctions that your company is having to covertly bust?
Is my fight against the loose use of the word corruption to refer to any business between government and companies that have government connections not also in support of companies like yours?
Should MDC therefore add YOU and your companies on the list of Special Designated Nationals for sanction busting or for corruptly supplying services [according to the American definition] to the government of Zimbabwe?
We Must Stand Together As A Nation
I believe you should sit down and realign your principles and desist from being double faced.
Your definition of corruption criminalizes everyone but you, for doing what you do to get your business. In the same instance it attempts to usurp our government’s prerogative to selectively develop businesses that advance Zimbabwean interests and not those of people standing against government.
Westerners have done this for centuries, hence we have monopolies like GE, Westinghouse, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, the seven sisters of oil, Google, Facebook, Apple and other such monopolies, created by preferential treatment. So why should that be corruption when done by Zimbabwe?
Your uninformed definition also feeds into the neo-liberal [colonial] manufactured consent that says the only legitimate business that African governments can engage in, is that done by opening up public sector markets and tenders to western companies or else they are corrupt.
That is WRONG and we must fight that form of legislative capture in Africa.
Your casting aspersions on my character for fighting for my nation’s sovereignty, economic, social and cultural rights, just because I don’t subscribe to your corruption double speak is also unacceptable.
My advice is as a national brand advocate, STOP PAINTING THE GOVERNMENT WITH THIS MYOPIC BRUSH THAT SAYS ZIMBABWE IS CORRUPT AT EVERYTHING IT DOES, EXCEPT BUSINESS WITH YOUR COMPANIES.
IF YOU CAN DO NONCORRUPT DEALS IN ZIMBABWE, SO CAN MANY OTHERS.
IF YOU DO BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO ARE NOT CORRUPT THEN APPRECIATE THAT THERE ARE MORE WHERE THOSE COME FROM.
IF YOU CAN SERVE NATION OUT OF LOVE OF NATION, SO CAN OTHER ZIMBABWEANS.
So STOP PERCEIVING THAT OTHERS ARE CORRUPT AND SINGING FOR THEIR SUPPER IF YOU ARE NOT.
STOP BAD MOUTHING THE BRAND YOU ARE PAID TO PROMOTE. EXERCISE DECORUM AND CHANNEL YOUR DISCONTENT IN THE APPROPRIATE INTERNAL FORUMS INSTEAD OF TAINTING THE IMAGE OF OUR NATION IN PUBLIC.
Finally, in African culture when a hyena comes to attack a village kraal, irrespective of the internal differences family or village members have. Villagers unite and go and fight the hyena before it kills all the cattle.
This is besides one among them maybe having done wrong in the home or village.
In the same way fighting sanctions must become a national priority for us as Zimbabweans, despite our differences because these sanctions are the proverbial hyena diminishing our inheritance.
What is lost to past corruption is not worth abandoning the vast wealth that is still in our human potential, natural environment and under our soil.
I know that you don’t prescribe to this perspective,
which is fine but try not to discourage those of us fighting this hyena just because you prefer that we fight each other internally for spilt milk or you prefer sanctions to prevail because you are benefiting from being a conduit of western funds into Zimbabwe.
Change the narrative and stop working with the enemy.
By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare.